This brownish-gray lizard has a median gray stripe down the back and variable gray or tan bands on either side of the center line, often with dark blotches. Scales are keeled and overlapping, and males have two blue patches on the sides of the belly. It occurs in grassy plains to desert scrublands, rocky canyon lands to open forests throughout New Mexico, eastern Arizona, and western Texas.
This lizard will climb up on rocks, into trees, or up on fence posts to bask in the sun. During cold winter months they hibernate. Fence lizards typically sit and wait for prey to come close enough to be captured. The diet is varied, including many kinds of insects, spiders, snails, and even other small lizards. Up to four clutches of eggs may be laid during the late spring and summer, containing up to 10 eggs. Young hatch throughout the summer months. These lizards are preyed upon by snakes, hawks, roadrunners, shrikes, and other lizards. The southwestern fence lizard is common in its range and the population is not threatened.
Photos taken by James Taulman at Oak Flat recreation area, Cibola National Forest, Tijeras, NM. Nikon P900 camera.